I Read YA! Do You?

Regular readers will remember that I have already shared all of my 5-star YA reads of 2020. It’s now time to start sharing some of my 4-star recommendations.

American Panda by Gloria Chao. Seventeen year old Mei is a pre-med at MIT. Her whole life is already mapped out-become a doctor, marry a parents-approved, successful, Taiwanese guy with an Ivy League degree, and have babies. It’s the least she can do for her parents who have sacrificed everything for her and who have already been betrayed by her older brother. There are a couple of problems with this plan. She is a germaphobe. She loves to dance. Darren is not Taiwanese. This is a funny and heartfelt coming of age story about a young woman stuck between two cultures. It’s also about first love and family secrets and following your passions, all things teens of any ethnicity can relate to. A solid 4-star read.

All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban. What happens when the scholarship dinner you’ve been invited to turns out to be a trap? This debut thriller reads like an Agatha Christie novel. The class valedictorian, the popular girl, the music geek, the stoner, the loner, and the star athlete all think they are being honored with a scholarship. Instead, they are locked in a room with a bomb, a syringe of poison, and a note that tells them to pick a person to die or they all die. The clock is ticking. This is an edge of your seat read that literally takes place over the course of an hour. Will they panic? Escape? Kill someone? This is a wild ride from a new voice in YA thrillers.

One of Us is Next by Karen McManus. Speaking of thrillers…If you aren’t reading Karen McManus, go do it now. This is the sequel to her hit One of Us is Lying. It’s been a year since the incidents at Bayview High and there is a new game circulating- Truth or Dare and this version is dark and dangerous. This is another strong addition to the YA thriller genre. I am definitely a fan of the author and look forward to more great reads by her.

Deadly Little Secrets by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Here’s another thriller and a sequel. I am a huge fan of Jennifer Lynn Barnes and will read anything she writes. This one picks up where Little White Lies leaves off. If you like southern charm and wicked family secrets and secret societies, you really need to read the Debutantes series. What I love about all of Barnes’ books is that there is plenty of humor to cut through the tension of her rather dark tales.

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black. This one is actually the final book in the Folk of the Air trilogy. You’ll want to start with The Cruel Prince, followed by The Wicked King. I always think I do not enjoy stories about the fae, and yet, any time I decide to read one, I like it, so I guess I am wrong about myself! Holly Black knows her stuff. She is the queen of the fairy tale and she returns to her fairy roots with this brutal and twisty trilogy. It’s full of magic and betrayal and the ending is fantastic. Highly recommend.

~Megan

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

There are tons of new releases that come to our shelves every week. Here are some books we picked out for you!

Deadlock by Catherine Coulter – Targeted by a vengeful psychopath who would destroy his family, Savich receives three mysterious boxes containing clues leading to an unfamiliar community and a young wife who must confront a decades-old secret.

Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Evolution by Brian Freeman – Going rogue to investigate suspicions that the agency that trained him is responsible for his lover’s murder, Jason Bourne teams up with journalist Abbey Laurent to identify who set him up for the assassination of a congresswoman.

1st Case by James Patterson & Chris Tebbetts – Recruited into the FBI when her unorthodox programming skills get her kicked out of MIT, a computer genius tracks a killer who has been targeted young women through a sophisticated messaging app.

His & Hers by Alice Feeney – Sacrificing everything for her hard-won BBC presenter career, Anna teams up with DCI Jack Harper to investigate a childhood friend’s murder in her sleepy hometown village. By the author of I Know Who You Are.

Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey – The former U.S. poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Native Guard shares a chillingly personal memoir about the brutal murder of her mother at the hands of her former stepfather.

Flyaway by Kathleen Jennings. Ed by Ellen Datlow – A debut novella by an award-winning writer and fantasy illustrator finds a reserved young woman from a Western Queensland town receiving a mysterious note from a long-missing brother that raises supernatural questions about other family disappearances.

Relentless by R. A. Salvatore – A conclusion to the best-selling trilogy finds Zaknafien and his mercenary friend, Jarlaxle, enduring the most difficult challenges of their lives to secure the fate of Gauntlgym, before unexpected circumstances compel an uncontrollable battle against life itself.

The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay – In a U.S. release of a contemporary classic from Bangladesh, a woman marries into a traditional, once-powerful family before encountering the ghost of a vengeful child bride who would hide a dynasty-saving fortune.

The Butterfly Lampshade by Aimee Bender – Unable to explain bizarre phenomena that accompanied the most formative events of her youth, Francie reflects on how the perceptions of childhood can take on near-magical qualities that sometimes carry over into an adult world that fluctuates between realities.

Crossings by Alex Landragin – A debut in three parts designed to be read straight through or in alternating chapters finds a Jewish-German bookbinder in occupied Paris discovering links between poet Charles Baudelaire, a Walter Benjamin-like exile and a seven-generation woman monarch.

Afterland by Lauren Beukes – Fleeing west to find a safe haven in a world vastly transformed by a pandemic that has killed nearly all men, a mother disguises her son as a girl to escape dangerous adversaries, including her own sister.

When She Was Good by Michael Robotham – A sequel to Good Girl, Bad Girl finds criminal psychologist Cyrus Haven uncovering answers about Evie Cormac’s dark past that force the latter to flee and question whether or not her secrets should remain hidden.

Geometry of Holding Hands by Alexander McCall Smith – Investigating local rumors about mysterious occurrences taking place throughout Edinburgh, a skeptical Isabel finds the limits of her good sense and ethics tested by the demands of her family, including her tempestuous niece’s latest romantic entanglement.

Playing Nice by J. P. Delaney – Informed by a stranger that his son was switched at birth with another baby, Pete struggles to adjust to the needs of two families before an investigation unearths disturbing questions about the hospital and the night the exchange occurred.

The End of Her by Shari Lapena – When a woman from her husband’s past shows up and raises questions about the death of his first wife, Stephanie remains loyal to her husband until a newly opened police investigation starts eroding her trust and her marriage.

The Ultimate Betrayal by Kat Martin – When her father is implicated in the theft of millions in chemical weapons from a government depot, an investigative journalist risks her life to prove her father’s innocence and expose the true culprits.

Hell in the Heartland: Murder, Meth, and the Case of Two Missing Girls by Jax Miller – The award-winning author of Freedom’s Child describes how her investigation into the 1999 unsolved disappearance of two teens from rural Oklahoma unearthed shocking links to police corruption, regional meth addiction and an ominous pattern of murders.

To Start a War: How the Bush Administration Took America into Iraq by Robert Draper – The author of the best-selling Dead Certain examines the flawed decision-making process that went into the invasion of Iraq, citing the role of post-9/11 fear, intelligence failures and leader ideologies in hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Deal With the Devil by Kit Rocha – This is the first book in a near-future science fiction series with elements of romance. Orphan Black meets the post-apocalyptic Avengers by USA Today and New York Times bestselling author duo Kit Rocha.

You Look So Much Better in Person: True Stories of Absurdity and Success by Al Roker – The Today Show coanchor Al Roker presents an entertaining guide to achieving a life of happiness and success through the power of “yes!”. Packed to the brim with cackle inducing and cringe-worthy behind-the-scenes insights and observations from over four decades in the media, this book reminds us all that long-term success in our personal lives and our careers is just within reach.

~Semanur

Favorite Books of 2020 (So Far)

Can you believe that we are more than halfway through 2020?! I know I surely cannot. Little did we know in January how very different this year would look compared to years past, and really March to now have been a bit of a foggy blur. Not only does my handy dandy planner help me with my to-do lists now more than ever, it also helps me remember what day it is (which was not so much of an issue pre-2020).

One thing that remains constant though is the joy of reading. Despite whatever madness might be occurring, I can always find a comfy perch somewhere and escape into a book for a few hours. Books have been a reassuring friend to me these past five months and I hope you have been able to curl up with a fabulous book as well.

Below you’ll find some of my most favorite books I’ve read so far this year!

Circe by Madeline Miller

Miller’s novel is absolutely amazing. Circe is a beautifully written, smart, feminist tale that takes readers into the world of Greek mythology but with an entirely new vantage point. Circe is the daughter of Helios, god of sun and mightiest of the Titans. She is strange, empathetic, and viewed as weak by her family and peers, turning to mortals for friendship and comfort. Eventually she discovers she holds the power of witchcraft, particularly the power of transformation, and is subsequently banished to live in exile on a remote island. Here is where she truly finds herself and her power. This complex story has it all- complicated heroines, magic, monsters, romance, tragedy, and adventure. It is also very much a story about families and finding our own paths independent of our familial bonds. I wept at the ending not only because of how perfect it was, but because I could have easily read another 300 pages of this masterpiece.

The Strange Bird by Jeff VanderMeer

I’ve written about my fangirl love for Jeff VanderMeer’s work on this blog before, but this is perhaps my most favorite book of his to date. It is also the one that ripped my heart out. It is an exploration of the beauty of humanity, conversely also about the cruelty humanity is capable of, and the endurance of love- all packed into under 100 pages. Readers will be mostly lost if they haven’t read any of the other Borne stories (Borne; Dead Astronauts) so I would highly recommend picking up at least one of those before diving into The Strange Bird. Here we follow a new character- a biotech bird mixed of human, avian, and other creature’s genetic material, known only as the Strange Bird. Following her escape from the lab that made her, she is plagued by mysterious dreams, drawn by some invisible beacon inside her to a faraway location. A difficult and gorgeous story that will stay with you long after you close the cover.

In the House in the Dark of the Woods by Laird Hunt

Perhaps my favorite spooky book so far this year (and you know I love spooky books!). An eerie and atmospheric horror story of women and witchcraft, that also reads as a psychological thriller. The story is set in colonial New England and follows a young woman who is lost in the woods while picking berries for her family- or did she leave her family on purpose? Much is unclear about her circumstances. Eventually she runs into a helpful older woman in the woods, who leads her to yet another mysterious and generous woman with a cozy cabin and plenty of food. Quickly it is made clear that all is not what it seems in this forest and these women may not truly be trying to help her return home. Elements of classic fairy tales and folklore, combined with an unreliable narrator and surreal, dreamlike moments unfold into a disturbing story that I could not put down.

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

I wasn’t sure I liked this book until I was more than halfway through it, but I’m glad I kept reading, because it turned out that I actually loved it. The writing is extraordinary and what kept me turning the pages, but I wasn’t confident this tale of wealth, white-collar financial crimes, and ghosts would all come together and hit me with the emotional impact I expect of a book. Well, The Glass Hotel delivers and in many unexpected ways. The story looks at multiple characters, but begins and ends with Vincent, a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass palace on a remote island in British Columbia. Readers travel to Manhattan, a container ship, the wilderness of northern Vancouver Island, and back, as we follow the connecting threads of one devastating Ponzi scheme and the various people it’s long tendrils dragged down with it.

White Tears by Hari Kunzru

This book is tricky- it wants you to think it is one story, but it twists and turns into another story and then yet another story. It is difficult to share why it is so captivating and amazing without spoiling too much of the plot, but I can say the early parts of the book introduce you to two particularly irritating white hipster men. They have an obsession with “real” music which essentially means any music that is from black culture and eventually this morphs into a hyper-focused interest in blues from the pre-war era for one of them. There are some seriously funny but bothersome passages discussing audiophile interests, vinyl collecting, and expectations of “real” musicians. I assure you, it is worth it to keep reading through the annoying narrator. The story really goes off the rails maybe halfway through and takes readers on a a new narrative that shifts our sense of reality and time, eventually ending with a note of satisfying and thought-provoking vengeance. Alternatively, this is also a story about white privilege, appropriation of black culture (especially music) in America, white wealth created from the exploitation of black bodies, the industrial prison system, and many more deep seated themes.

Have you read any of my favorites? What are some of your favorites that you have read in the past six months? Share with me in the comments!

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

We have some new releases picked out for you to dive in for the following week. There is more adventure, detective, romance, suspense and true crime for you to enjoy!

Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis – The co-creator of the It’s Lit! web series presents the alternate-history tale of a woman who becomes an interpreter for an unknown being when her estranged whistle-blower father launches a media frenzy about a first-contact cover-up.

Quantum Shadows by L. E. Modesitt – On a world called Heaven, Conwyn, known as the Shadow of the Raven, contains the collective memory of humanity’s Falls from Grace and discovers that another Fall may happen and if he doesn’t stop it, mankind will not survive.

The Sin in the Steel by Ryan Van Loan – In a debut fantasy set in a world of dead gods, pirates and shapeshifting mages, a brilliant former street youth-turned-detective and her ex-soldier partner investigate the activities of a pirate queen to expose societal corruption.

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson – Observing a life of strict submission to minimize discrimination for her mixed heritage, Immanuelle discovers dark truths about her community’s church and her late mother’s secret relationship with the spirits of four witches.

Near Dark by Brad Thor – A latest entry in the best-selling series that includes such award-winners as BacklashSpymaster and The Last Patriot continues the high-suspense adventures of elite military operative and intelligence agent, Scot Harvath.

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue – A novel set in 1918 Dublin offers a three-day look at a maternity ward during the height of the Great Flu pandemic. By the best-selling author of Room.

The Answer Is: Reflections on My Life by Alex Trebek – Longtime Jeopardy! host and television icon Alex Trebek reflects on his life and career.

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell – The award-winning author of I Am, I Am, I Am presents the evocative story of a young Shakespeare’s marriage to a talented herbalist before the ravaging death of their 11-year-old son shapes the production of his greatest play.

The Unidentified: Mythical Monsters, Alien Encounters, and Our Obsession with the Unexplained by Colin Dickey – The co-editor of The Morbid Anatomy Anthology and author of Ghostland examines the world’s most persistent unexplained phenomena, from Atlantis and alien encounters to Flat Earth and the Loch Ness monster, to explore their origins and historical endurance.

The Daughters of Foxcote Manor by Eve Chase – Moving to 1970 Foxcote Manor when their London home burns down, a woman and her children take in an abandoned baby girl who is forced to investigate a murder and her own origin story 40 years later.

Decoding Your Cat: The Ultimate Experts Explain Common Cat Behaviors and Reveal How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones – American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. Ed by Meghan E. Herron, Debra F. Horwitz & Carlo Siracusa – Providing in-depth coverage of the underlying reasons for problematic feline behavior, a guide to promoting a cat’s physical and psychological health shares science-based anecdotes to explain how cats relate to the world and their environment.

Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel – Envied for her close relationship with a famous music artist and Julliard classmate, a successful chamber group founder finds her summer plans riotously upended by sudden family upheavals, including her elderly father’s marriage.

Perfect Father, The: The True Story of Chris Watts, His All-American Family, and a Shocking Murder by John Glatt – Documents the August 2018 murders of Shanaan Watts and her young daughters, describing how viewers watched her husband’s televised plea for help less than 24 hours before he confessed to killing his family.

Baseless: My Search for Secrets in the Ruins of the Freedom of Information Act by Nicholson Baker – The National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author of The Mezzanine presents a deeply researched assessment of the Freedom of Information Act that reveals how deliberate obstructions, from extensive wait times to copious redactions, conceal government corruption and human-rights violations.

The Vanishing Sky by L. Annette Binder – A mother in a rural 1945 German community protects her traumatized soldier son from her husband’s escalating nationalism, while her younger son flees the Hitler Youth to embark on a perilous journey home.

She Proclaims: Our Declaration of Independence from a Man’s World by Jennifer Palmieri – An empowering guide to feminism by the best-selling author of Dear Madam President outlines a blueprint for activism while sharing lessons from her personal choice to live on her own terms instead of embracing toxic patriarchal norms.

Drone Strike by Nicholas Irving & A. J. Tata – Nicholas Irving’s Reaper: Drone Strike is the next book in the explosive thriller series by the former special operations sniper and New York Times bestselling author of The Reaper.

Lights Out: Pride, Delusion, and the Fall of General Electric by Thomas Gryta & Ted Mann – How could General Electric perhaps Americas most iconic corporation suffer such a swift and sudden fall from grace? This is the definitive history of General Electrics epic decline, as told by the two Wall Street Journal reporters who covered its fall.

How Lulu Lost Her Mind by Rachel Gibson – From New York Times bestselling author Rachel Gibson comes the story of a mother-daughter journey to rediscover the past before it disappears forever. Heartrending at times and laugh-out-loud funny at others, How Lulu Lost Her Mind is the book for everyone and their mother.

Paris is Always a Good Idea by Jenn McKinlay – One of Popsugars Best New Books for Summer 2020. A thirty-year-old woman retraces her gap year through Ireland, France, and Italy to find love&;and herself&;in this hilarious and heartfelt novel. From the start of her journey nothing goes as planned, but as Chelsea reconnects with her old self, she also finds love int he very last place she expected.

~Semanur

YA Round Up Part 2

So it appears that I have been pretty stingy with the 5 star ratings so far this year. Here are the final titles that have been outstanding reads for me so far this year.

Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis: This brutal survival story is not for the squeamish! Ashley always felt right at home in the deep woods of the Smoky Mountains, so she was looking forward to what was supposed to be a fun night of camping and drinking. But, after finding her boyfriend with another girl, she storms off in a drunken rage. She takes a hard fall, but she’s too mad to worry. It’s not until she wakes up the next morning that she realizes she is alone, far from the trail, and injured. It’s a race against time, and the infection creeping up her leg, to get herself to safety. I am huge Mindy McGinnis fan and can’t wait to read what she offers next.

The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert: Marva Sheridan has been waiting to be old enough to vote for as long as she could remember. One election day she was the first in line at her polling spot. As she’s heading out to go to school she overhears a guy her age insisting he was registered, despite his name not being on the rolls. Marva steps in to intervene, and sets off a chain of events she never anticipated. She and Duke, the guy from the voting spot, set off to set the record straight and enable Duke to cast his first vote. The more time they spend together the more they learn about each and the more they learn the more they like each other.
The Voting Booth hits many hot button topics in the news-voter suppression, gun violence, police brutality-in one delightful, whirlwind tale. I have read everything Brandy Colbert has written and she never disappoints. This is a must read!

Slay by Brittney Morris: You don’t have to be a gamer to appreciate the fact that 17-year old programmer Kiera is a genius. Kiera Johnson is one of just a few black kids at her school, but after school she joins thousands of black gamers in the multi-player online role playing game called SLAY. What no one knows is that she is creator. She goes to great lengths to protect her identity, but when a murder IRL is connected to the game and a troll infiltrates the world of SLAY, Kiera’s safe and beloved world is in danger. Can she protect her creation and her identity? This is not my go-to type of book as I have not interest in online games, but I am so glad I picked this one up. Great characters and a thoughtful look at the need for black people to have safe spaces just for themselves.

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei: Pair this nonfiction autobiography of the author’s childhood experience in Japanese internment camps with the Kiku Hughes’s fictionalized account of her grandparents’ experiences. Takei’s story is a harsh reminder that internment camps were part of our country’s RECENT past. There are people living today who were imprisoned for being Japanese and Japanese-American.

My last three 5 star reviews are parts of series.

The Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland: This sequel to Dread Nation picks up the story of Jane McKeene, a badass restless dead hunter, as she ventures West towards California. This alternate history duology takes place after the Civil War, when soldiers because rising from the dead and government decided that form slaves and black girls were the perfect people to battle the undead. It’s a wild ride!

The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson: This is the third and final book in the Truly Devious series. It is a completely satisfying end to the story of Ellingham Academy. Fans of true crime and My Favorite Murder will recognize the cases of hiding people Stevie mentions. Fans of Agatha Christie will appreciate the many nods to the queen of mystery stories. I can’t to see what Maureen Johnson has in store for us next!

The King of Crows by Libba Bray: This is the final book in the super creepy Diviners series. I was not expecting the tears at the end of this one. This final book in the series is a scathing commentary on our past wrongs and evils, a cautionary tale as our current political environment has shockingly repeating some of these wrongs, and also a hopeful and stirring love letter to true American patriotism. As I was having these thoughts I kept wondering if I was reading too much in to it, but the author’s note, which I recommend NOT skipping, confirmed that I was not. Oh, and there was a really awesome story about ghosts and monsters and people with powers and love and romance and running away to join the circus. Truly a masterpiece.

That’s all for my 5 star reads of 2020, but I have plenty of amazing 4 star titles to share in future posts. Stay tuned.

~Megan

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

This week we have a collection of autobiography, horror, historical fiction, and much more for you to choose from. You can also find topics such as friendship, family life, and political science… Enjoy!

Filthy Beasts: A Memoir by Kirkland Hamill – A writer for Salon and The Advocate reflects on how his newly divorced mother moved her family to her native Bermuda, leaving him and his young brothers home to fend for themselves while she chased nightlife and suitors.

Miracle Country: A Memoir by Kendra Atleework – Describes how the author’s thriving childhood in the natural desert landscape of the Eastern Sierra Nevada was upended by her mother’s tragic early death and how the region of her youth has been ravaged by climate change.

When Truth Is All You Have: A Memoir of Faith, Justice, and Freedom for the Wrongly Convicted by Jim McCloskey with Philip Lerman. Foreword by John Grisham – The founder of the Centurion Ministries, the first American organization dedicated to freeing the wrongly imprisoned, describes his life-changing advocacy of an innocent convict and his establishment of a movement that has freed dozens of victims.

Other People’s Pets by R. L. Maizes – Abandoned by her mother and thief father, a woman who empathically relates more to animals than people drops out of veterinary school and turns burglar, targeting houses where ailing pets can benefit from her care.

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones – A novel that blends classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives.

Peace Talks by Jim Butcher – Joining the White Council’s security team to help facilitate peace among hostile supernatural nations, wizard Harry Dresden is confronted by manipulative political forces that threaten all of Chicago. By the best-selling author of the Codex Alera series.

Queen of Storms by Raymond E. Feist – Posing as innkeepers and awaiting instructions from their Kingdom of Night masters, Hatushaly and Hava are assassins from the mysterious island of Coaltachin and are called to arms when the Greater Realms of Tembria are threatened.

The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal – When political divides, riots and sabotage compromise the Earth’s response to the Meteor strike, Elma departs for a fledgling Mars colony before the challenges of interplanetary pioneer life are further complicated by her husband’s presidential campaign.

Age of Consent by Amanda Brainerd – Forging a deep friendship in spite of disparate backgrounds, two 1980s boarding school students join a friend for the summer in a New York City apartment, where they are affected by sexual relationships with powerful older men.

The Order by Daniel Silva – The award-winning author of The New Girl and The Other Woman presents a latest high-action thriller that pits enigmatic art restorer and master spy Gabriel Allon against an international threat that tests the limits of his skills.

A Walk Along The Beach by Debbie Macomber – Two sisters must learn from each other&;s strengths and trust in the redeeming power of love in a touching new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.

The Revelators by Ace Atkins – Struggling to recover after an attempt on his life, Sheriff Quinn Colson resolves to track down his would-be killers, only to find his efforts stymied by an interim sheriff who has been appointed by a corrupt governor.

Demagogue by Larry Tye – The definitive biography of the most dangerous demagogue in American history, based on first-ever review of his personal and professional papers, medical and military records, and recently unsealed transcripts of his closed-door Congressional hearings.

Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close by Aminatou Sow  & Ann Friedman – The feminist hosts of the Call Your Girlfriend podcast argue that close friendship is the most influential and important relationship a human life can have, sharing strategies for creating fulfilling, long-term relationships with friends.

~Semanur

YA Round Up

I have been reading (and by reading, I mean listening to) a lot of true crime and thrillers lately, but I also read a good amount of YA books. I am the Teen Librarian, after all. Early in the Covid shut down I mostly revisited old favorites, but as I become accustomed to my new normal I am getting back into my old reading habits. So, here’s a quick review of some of my favorite YA reads of the year so far.

These are the first of my 5-Star reads of 2020.

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks: I loved this charming graphic novel so much! Two high school seniors, “work” best friends, face the end of their time at the pumpkin patch they both love. The pair decide to brush off work and hunt down a long time crush. Hilarity ensues. This slim volume perfectly captures the excitement, sorrow, and uncertainty of leaving high school and embarking on the next adventure.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer: This is fun Beauty and the Beast retelling. Harper, the story’s Belle, is tough and determined, and constantly underestimated due to her cerebal palsy. Definitely an interesting addition to the fantasy genre and the world of retellings.

Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen: Ever Wong’s summer plans are cancelled when her parents inform her she is going to Taiwan to study Mandarin. It’s just the kind of thing they would do in their never-ending quest for the perfect daughter. What they don’t know is that this program is a notorious “meet-market”, nicknamed the Loveboat. Surrounded by teen prodigies and experience freedom for the first time, Ever sets out to break all the rules. You don’t have to be Chinese to relate to this nearly perfect coming of age story.

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed: A teen book about political canvassing?!? Yes, please! Jewish and Muslim representation, political activism, and romance blend into the perfect book for me. I love anything that inspires young people to get involved in politics!

Displacement by Kiku Hughes: Displacement is an exploration of the Japanese-American and Japanese immigrant experience in interment camps during WWII. Teenaged Kiku Hughes calls her brief trips back in time to experience what her grandmother and great-grandparents experienced displacements. Little is known about their time in the camps because they rarely spoke of it, but Kiku was able to live the confusion and fear, the hunger and grief, the impossible choices people made.
This memoir-based book is gorgeous. The art is simple and beautiful and panels are open, sometimes sprawling, like the inhospitable landscapes surrounding the camps. While the main focus is the past, the author pulls no punches when it comes to comparing Japanese internment camps and the political climate that allowed them to occur to our current political environmental. This is a powerful must-read.

Stay tuned for more 5 star YA titles!

~Megan

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

In this week’s special picks there are new exciting romance, mystery, fantasy, and many more genres for you to choose from! Enjoy!

The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards – A celebrated singer in World War II occupied France joins the Resistance to save her estranged family from being killed in a German prison. By the award-winning author of The Fifth Doctrine. A world at war. A beautiful young star. A mission no one expected.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager – Twenty-five years after her father published a wildly popular non-fiction book based on her family’s rushed exit from a haunted Victorian estate, naysayer Maggie inherits the house and begins renovations only to make a number of disturbing discoveries. Is the place really haunted by evil forces, as her father claimed? Or are there more earthbound and dangerous secrets hidden within its walls?

Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams – The beloved author returns with a remarkable novel of both raw suspense and lyric beauty – Investigating the fate of a forgotten aviation pioneer, a 1947 war correspondent tracks down the pilot’s former student before learning the remarkable story of their complicated and passionate relationship. By the best-selling author of The Golden Hour.

All the Broken People by Leah Konen – Moving to rustic Woodstock to escape an unhappy past, Lucy bonds with an alluring couple, Vera and John, who embroil her in a plot to fake John’s death, before Lucy finds herself framed for the man’s actual murder. She bargained for in this twisty and addictive domestic thriller for fans of The Couple Next Door.

The Dilemma by B. A. Paris – Organizing a lavish birthday party after decades of hardship, a woman hiding a secret about a daughter who cannot attend is forced to confront a devastating truth when her husband arranges a surprise. NYT and USA Today bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors, The Breakdown, and Bring Me Back.

Daring and the Duke by Sarah MacLean – New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean returns with the much-anticipated final book in her Bareknuckle Bastards series, featuring a scoundrel duke and the powerful woman who brings him to his knees.

Holding Out for Christmas by Janet Dailey – A demure kindergarten teacher with dreams of Nashville stardom makes a difficult choice when she reunites with a smitten and wildly attractive rancher during an annual western-themed Christmas ball that launches a holiday season of romance and promise.

Word to the Wise by Jenn McKinlay – It’s no-holds-barred murder. Lindsey Norris is finally getting married to the man of her dreams but it’s not all roses for Briar Creek’s beloved library director, as town newcomer Aaron Grady gives the term “book lover” a whole new meaning. Inappropriate looks and unwelcome late-night visits to Lindsey’s house have everyone from the crafternooners to Lindsey’s fiancé, Sully, on edge.

The Empire of Gold by S. A. Chakraborty – In this final installment in the critically acclaimed trilogy, Nahri and Ali are determined to save both their city and their loved ones, but when Ali seeks support in his mother’s homeland, he makes a discovery that threatens not only his relationship with Nahri, but his very faith.

The Chicken Sisters by K. J. Dell’Antonia – Three generations. Two chicken shacks. One recipe for disaster. The last thing Brooklyn-based organizational guru Mae Moore, Amanda’s sister, wants is to go home to Kansas. But when her career implodes, helping the fading Mimi’s look good on Food Wars becomes Mae’s best chance to reclaim the limelight. When family secrets become public knowledge, the sisters must choose: Will they fight with each other, or for their heritage?

One Last Lie by Paul Doiron – When his beloved mentor disappears amid the discovery of an antique badge,Mike Bowditch investigates the presumed death of an undercover warden before the cold case is upended by dangerous secrets and a daughter’s return.

Firestick by William W. Johnstone & J. A. Johnstone – In this exciting new series, bestselling authors pay homage to America’s trail – hardened backwoodsmen who, like a fine grain whisky, only get better with age. Firestick is the town marshal. Beartooth and Moosejaw are his deputies. And when a hired gunman shows up with bullets blazing, these three hard-cases are ready to prove they aren’t getting older.

Nacho Average Murder by Maddie Day – While looking forward to her high school reunion back in California, Robbie’s anticipation is complicated by memories of her mother’s untimely death. But then she gets wind of rumors that her mother, an environmental activist, may not have died of natural causes. With the help of friends, Robbie starts clearing the smoke surrounding the mystery; but what she finds could make it hard to get back to Indiana alive . . .

Selfcare by Leigh Stein – Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and seen countless influencers who seem like experts at caring for themselves from their yoga crop tops to their well-lit clean meals to their serumed skin and erudite-but-color-coded reading stack? Self Care delves into the lives and psyches of people working in the wellness industry and exposes the world behind the filter.

~Semanur